- Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Agency overview Formed October 31, 2007 Preceding agency National Electricity Power Authority Jurisdiction Federal Republic of Nigeria Headquarters FCT-Abuja Agency executive Sam Amadi, Chairman/CEO Parent agency Federal Ministry of Power Website nercng.org
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is the government body saddled with the regulation of the electric power industry in Nigeria. NERC was formed in 2005 under the Obasanjo administration’s economic reform agenda through the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 for formation and review of electricity tariffs, transparent policies regarding subsidies, promotion of policies that are efficient and environmentally friendly, and also including forming and enforcing of standards in the creation and use of electricity in Nigeria. NERC was instituted primarily to regulate the tariff of Power Generating companies owned or controlled by the government, and any other generating company which has a license for power generation and transmission of energy, and distribution of electricity.
Electric power generation in Nigeria began in 1896. In 1929, the Nigeria Electric Supply Company (NESCO) was established. In 1951, the Electric Corporation of Nigeria (ECN) was established to take over the assets of NESCO. In 1962, NDA (Nigeria Dams Authority) was established to develop the hydropower potentials in Nigeria. In 1972, ECN and NDA were merged to form NEPA (National Electric Power Authority), which later metamorphosized to Power Holding Company of Nigeria, as a holding company for its imminent unbundling and subsequent privatization. Previously, the Federal Ministry of Power oversees the electric power sector in Nigeria. It served both as the policy making body and the regulator; doing the latter mostly through the Electrical Inspectorate Services, a department in the Ministry. The electric power sector in Nigeria started with the Niger Dams Authority which controlled the Dams around Shiroro and River Niger. Due to abysmal power crises in the whole of Nigeria, the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo made efforts through the National Council for Privatisation/Bureau for Public Service (under the leadership of Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai to reform the sector which has seen no investment or major government attention since the 1980s. The NERC was formed through the EPSRAct of 2005 and it was inaugurated on 30 October 2007 with Ramsome Owan as its first Chairman/CEO. Dr. Ransome Owan, a US trained scientist who once worked for GE, was appointed for a five year term as the executive Chairman of NERC. On his team included other Nigerians living in Diaspora who came in to work for NERC. NERC was given additional responsibilities for setting up and administering a fund called “Power Consumer Assistance Fund” which shall subsidize underprivileged power consumers in Nigeria. It also had the mandate to regulate the rural systems and determine the contribution rates to be sent to the Rural Electrification Fund.
Powers and Duties of NERC
The Commission's powers and duties are solely provided for in the EPSRAct 2005, and effectively ushered the privatization of electric power services in Nigeria unbundling of the defunct National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA)/Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). NERC’s primary duty is protect the interests of consumers, issue licenses to operators/investors, set and review electricity tariffs and where possible promote competition. The Commission's main objective is to protect existing and future consumers' interests in relation to electricity generated and that conveyed by distribution or transmission systems. Consumers' interests are their interests taken as a whole, including their interests in affordable tariffs and safe, reliable and available electricity supply, and the reduction of greenhouse gases to them.
Structure of NERC
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission is governed by a tenured Board of Commissioners, headed by a Chairman. The Nigerian President nominates one nominee Commissioner to represent his/her geopolitical zone in the country for a fixed tenure of 4years, renewable once only. The Chairman/CEO, however has a period of 5years, also renewable once only. The nominees are duly screened by the Senate of the Federal Republic. The Board of Commission of NERC issues orders on electricity matters in Nigeria. It make regulatory decisions and issues final license to investors/operators. It also settles industrial disputes through its ADR mechanism in an open hearing. NERC is divided into seven Divisions:
- Office of the Chairman/CEO,
- Engineering, Standards and Safety Division,
- Finance and Management Services Division,
- Government and Consumer Affairs Division,
- Legal Licensing and Enforcement Division,
- Market Competition and Rates Division, and the
- Renewable Energy/Research and Development Division.
Reform of Electricity Sector in Nigeria
The Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 established NERC's authority to impose mandatory reliability standards on the transmission system and to impose penalties on companies that manipulate the electricity markets. The EPSRAct of 2005 gave NERC additional responsibilities as outlined in NERC's Wide Important Goals. As part of that responsibility, NERC:
- Regulates the generation, transmission, distribution and marketing of electricity in Nigeria (and with Nigeria);
- Licenses and inspects private and corporate electric power projects (10MW and above; where 1-10MW are issued Captive Licenses);
- Ensures the reliability of generation plants, high voltage transmission system and the zonal distribution system;
- Ensures occupational health and safety of persons involved with electricity in the whole sector.
- Monitors and investigates energy markets;
- Uses civil penalties and other means against energy organizations and individuals who violate NERC rules in the energy markets;
- Administers accounting and financial reporting regulations and conduct of regulated companies.
In recent years, the NERC has been promoting the voluntary formation of Independent Electric Transmission Networks (IETNs) and Independent Electric Distribution Networks (IEDNs) to eliminate the potential for undue discrimination in access to the electric grid. However since the generation capacity is even low and the transmission not robust, NERC has aggressively developed regulations to push for the primary provision of supply, electric reliability and implementation of new regulations keeping in sight when the sector fully develops. NERC regulates over 40 licensees in Nigeria. It is also responsible for permitting the construction of network of transmission lines by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (the tranmission monopoly in Nigeria formed as a successor company of the PHCN). NERC also works closely with the Nigerian Ministry of Environment and other related bodies in reviewing the safety, security and environmental impacts of proposed power plants and transmission networks.
Board of Commissioners
Sam Amadi currently serves as Chairman/CEO of the Commission (term began on December 18, 2010). Dr Amadi (the publisher of "Privatization and public good: The rule of law challenge”) is trying to reposition NERC after a two-year period of controversy midwifed by the suspension and then removal of the first Board of Commissioners, led by Dr. Owan. Dr. Amadi and his new team have invited 'Distinguished Personalities' for Breakfast Series' lectures at the Commission headquarters, including Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai and Mr. Osita Chidoka of the Nigerian Road Safety Corps.
The other Commissioners are:
- Mohammed Lawal Bello (Vice Chairman) - In charge of the Renewable Energy/Research and Development Division
- Abba Ibrahim - Government and Consumer Affairs Division,
- Patrick Umeh - Finance and Management Services Division,
- Mary E. Awolokun - Engineering, Standards and Safety Division,
- Steven Adzinge - Legal Licensing and Enforcement Division,
- Eyo Ekpo - Market Competition and Rates Division
- Official site
- Energy Commission of Nigeria
- Presidential Task Force on Power
- Power Holding Company of Nigeria/Transmission Company of Nigeria
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